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The Rachel Maddow Show

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  MSNBC    The Rachel Maddow Show    News/Business.  (2011) New.  

    July 26, 2011
    6:00 - 7:00pm PDT  

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as a general policy. part of it is telling these stories is really telling the american story. >> melissa harris-perry, thank you for joining me tonight from that studio across the hall. thank you very much, melissa. you can have the last word online at our blog, thelastword.msnbc.com, you can follow my tweets @lawrence. yes, that was the rachel maddow set. melissa harris-perry is tonight's guest show of "the rachel maddow show." hi, melissa. >> really great to go from talking with you to talking even more on these central questions, so thanks to all of you at home for staying with us for the next hour. rachel is just off tonight, she's on vaca and i'm excited to be filling in on another busy summer news day. where we begin tonight is t-minus seven days and counting. one week from today, next tuesday, is deadline day in
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washington, final day for republicans in congress and president obama to strike a deal on the debt ceiling and avoid sending the country to default for the first time in our history. at this hour last night, the latest turn in a journey that's had a whole lot of turns, a primetime address from the president aimed at -- shall we say, pressuring republicans, into finally reaching some sort of agreement. but if you were tuning in last night as i was, hoping that you would see some grownups really close to compromise, that's not at all what you saw. instead, it was president obama and speaker john boehner looking like they were as far apart as they've ever been in this now months-long fight. and today, just after their duelling primetime speeches, president obama made it clear that he would not accept just any compromise when he officially threatened to veto the plan that's favored right now by john boehner and house republican leaders. late tonight, speaker boehnor's
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office announced he's going to be re-writing that plan because it doesn't achieve as much in savings as he originally claimed it did. now, given the sort of dire nature of where these talks stand now, there's one remedy bouncing around washington these days that suggests president obama doesn't actually need john boehner at all, that he can just raise the debt ceiling on his own without john boehner and without house republicans. for weeks now, the white house and president have said they don't intend to take this sort of dramatic, uni-lateral action, but this policy is one that's enshrined in the u.s. constitution. it's part of the 14th amendment to the constitution, which was one of three amendments passed in the years following the civil war. interestingly enough, president obama cited this civil war error during his speech last night.
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>> we have put to the test time and again that out of many, we are one. we've engaged in fierce and passionate debates about the issues of the day. but from slavery to war, from civil libertiys to questions of economic justice, we have tried to live by the words that jefferson once wrote, every man cannot have his way in all things. without total disposition, we are disjointed individuals but not a society. >> he used to live in chicago, and given how often this former state senator from illinois has asked us to think of him in the mold of abraham lincoln, president obama specifically name-checking slavery in his speech last night, invites us to ask, what have we learned from that moment in american history? right now we keep hearing over and over again from republicans in congress that washington is broken, and while there may be
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some merit to that, there's really only been one time in our history where washington was truly broken, as in literally broken in half. and there are some actual lessons to be learned from the civil war that can just as easily be applied today. for one thing, you want to know what the country amassed a lot of during the civil war? debt. the u.s. government went deep into the red during the civil war. the union had to borrow and spend all sorts of money that it didn't have in order to fight and win that war. moral of the story, debt itself is not inherently evil, debt matters, but the country matters a whole lot more. lincoln was prepared to find a way to pay the bill so this nation would not perish from the earth. another lesson from then that could just as easily apply today, countries at war need to raise revenue in order to pay for those wars. one of the enormous advantages
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the north had over the south during the civil war, one of the reasons they were ultimately able to prevail, is because they had more money. where did they get that money? you guessed it, tax revenues. abraham lincoln imposed the country's first federal income tax in 1861 in order to help pay for the war effort, a novel sort of concept, right? new taxes to pay for a new war. the fact that we haven't imposed any new taxes over the past decade means that we are essentially using a pre-19th century model to pay for the wars that we've decided to fight, but perhaps more important than anything else, the civil war was the moment in our history when we established the very notion of the full faith and credit of the united states government. it was the adoption of this aforementioned 14th amendment to the constitution, the one that states that the u.s. debt shall not be questioned. after the civil war, after
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racking up all of this debt, the u.s. congress essentially declared to the entire country and to the world that we are good for it, that the united states is a good credit risk for lenders because we honor our debts. that's the moment at which the government said by constitutional requirement, if we the people owe you, we'll pay you back. we just will. and so to risk that credit at this moment is to ask us to go back to a pre-lincoln moment in our republic when our word wasn't necessarily our bond. seven days from right now or sooner, that word may take a major hit. drawing upon the lessons of the civil war serves as not just a reminder about our monetary policy and the usefulness of debt, but the difference between a real crisis and frankly a manufactured one. in this moment, as bad as things are, the fact is we could solve our things tomorrow, heck, by midnight tonight. congress could simply say in
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what is not even an act of courage, just an act of regular governing, hey, we're going to raise the debt ceiling today, and we're going to address these other issues, important issues, in the way politicians always do. we'll fight it out and whatever policies the american people like best, they'll vote for that party. instead of that, what we have is people away from the talks, people willing to launch the country in a potential economic crisis when there need not be one at all. so is washington broken? maybe, but it's not the result of any real crisis like we faced before, it's a result of a totally manufactured one. now, joining us now from washington is e.j. dionne, columnist for "the washington post" and senior fellow at the brookings institution, and, of course, a fellow academic, a professor at georgetown. good to see you tonight. >> good to be with you. >> thanks. i was watching last night.
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from what i saw, this looked like -- out of this from your perspective at this point. >> maybe define intervention is the most realistic solution to this problem. i mean, what you've got here, i think there's so many interesting analogies to the 1850s, to pick up on your civil war analogy, when we were divided. now, thank god we're not talking about secession and slavery, but what you have here is a large determined minority inside the republican caucus that just don't want to make a deal. they are saying things that are way outside the mainstream view, really doesn't matter if we don't raise the debt ceiling, we can get through default, it won't be a big deal. now, john boehner doesn't believe that, mitch mcconnell doesn't believe that, but boehnor seems unable to move toward any kind of agreement,
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partly because he's worried about his own fate in this caucus or he's worried that if he puts together a deal that is supported by too many democrats and not enough republicans, he's also threatened. so i think it's that internal politics in the republican caucus that's blocking this. i think what might happen is that mitch mcconnell may decide to let harry reid pass his plan without threatening a filibuster. now, if he did that, the democrats could get it through with a majority. that's how most democracies do things, but not our senate, and that may set up grounds for a solution. that's about the only thing i could see right now that might begin to get us out of this or at least begin real negotiations again. >> so, speaking of that, of the idea there is, in fact, a majority rule, and that there's so much politics going on here, look, we saw this reuters poll indicating a majority of voters favor president obama's
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compromising approach, they prefer it to speaker boehnor's cuts-only plan. we know last night after the president asked people to call their representatives, the capitol hill phone lines have been jammed, so are the republicans listening? is the tea party deaf to these cries on the part of the american people to get this resolved before we are at t-minus two days? does it even matter what the public thinks? >> "t" being the operative letter of the day. for a lot of these tea party members, they are terribly wrong and their view is dangerous, but they believe on principle. when teddy roosevelt won in 1912, we stand ona armageddon ad battle for the lord. that makes this very difficult. also, a lot of republicans are much more worried about losing primaries to candidates to their right than losing general
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elections. now, maybe this will begin to change when those republicans, including a few of the tea party people sitting on seats that went for president obama in 2008, basically, genuinely competitive seats, about 60 republicans like that. maybe this will begin to have an impact on them. but for the moment, it's very hard to see boehnor getting out of this, which is why he walked away from the talks with president obama not once, but twice. >> e.j., thank you so much for being here and for chatting with us tonight. >> great to be with you. >> it was great to be with you. that was e.j. dionne, columnist for "the washington post." conservatives are all about jobs, which is interesting, as the debt ceiling drama sucks the air out of the room, the faa is shut down in part because the republicans want to make it harder for unions.
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how many actually employed people are not working or being paid as a result? that story is next. >> announcer: this past year alone there's been a 67% spike in companies embracing the cloud-- big clouds, small ones, public, private, even hybrid. your data and apps must move easily and securely to reach many clouds, not just one. that's why the network that connects, protects, and lets your data move fearlessly through the clouds means more than ever. ñwkó
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salaries, dollars saved, but for today, the fourth day in a row, the agency that regulates air travel has had to go without 4,000 of their employees. 4,000 people from 35 states have been furloughed since saturday, and not having them do their jobs means the agency, the federal aviation administration, can't collect taxes. this time, not having people show up to work is really expensive. the furlough is costing tax payers $30 million a day, $200 million for one week in lost revenue, all because republicans in the house refuse to extend the faa's authority. four years ago, the last long-term authorization for the faa ended. since then, congress has granted the agency a temporary extension 20 times, but this time, the 21st time, no way, no how. this time, republicans will not let the faa go on living unless
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they get what they really, really want. john moica wants among other things, "language that would make it harder to rail unions." republicans want to make it more difficult for airline and rail workers to fight for better working conditions in a year in which conditions have made for a terrifying headlines. >> two commercial airliners approaching reagan national airport, trying to reach the tower, hearing nothing. we now know a controller was asleep. >> as of last night, every tower in america opened overnight must be staffed by two controllers. >> the head of the faa air traffic controllers resigned tonight. >> controllers now get nine hours of rest instead of eight between shifts.
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>> on tuesday, a flight carrying michelle obama was forced to abort a landing after it came too close to a massive cargo plane. the incident is currently under investigation. for now on, those flights will be handled by air traffic supervis supervisors. >> a third air traffic controller has been fired for sleeping on the job, the faa said the controller was caught napping twice this year while on duty in boeing field in seattle. five incidents nationwide have been revealed since march. >> so the women and men, the ones who make sure our airplanes don't, you know, crash into each other are tired, and we should certainly take away their ability to make sure they've got good working conditions. listen, it's not just that the government isn't saving any money thanks to the furlough. in normal times, a federal agency temporarily not collecting taxes means a tax holiday. let's say you're trying to buy a
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ticket for your daughter to fly back to college later on this month. let's say that tickets cost $50 0, $50 of which is taxes, let's say the faa is not collecting that $50 tax. that ticket should cost $450. for a couple of days that looked how it would happen. that's not how it worked out. instead of passing on this as savings for customers, almost every single airline jacked up its prices to jack up the republican-made crisis -- to make money off the 4,000 furloughed workers. now, in normal times this would be called crisis profiteering, but what do you call it when these are anything but normal times? going to the bank without going to the bank...
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today in norway, the lawyer for the man accused in last week's terrorist attacks said his client might have been insane when he bombed government offices, and then shot 68 people dead at an oslo summer camp for young liberals. now the public asked whether more police officers should carry guns, most norwegian police officers don't since norway has no violent crime. we have responded to the news with a call for more guns all around. "norway's unarmed citizens were
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helpless to save themselves." now, remind me, isn't it true the last time we heard this argument was in tucson when a mentally disturbed man opened fire at a constituent event held by congresswoman gaby giffords? arizona has some of the loosest gun laws in the nation, but no one pulled out a gun to stop the attacker and he killed six people that day. let me suggest this, turns out neither a lack of guns as we saw in norway, nor a lack of gun laws, as we saw in arizona, neither one guarantees you safety, but we should all just have more guns, right? just ask congress where the national right to carry reciprocity act now has 241 co-sponsors. a majority of the house saying you should be able to carry a legally concealed weapon from one state to the other regardless of the second state's laws.
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now, wasn't this supposed to be the congress of jobs, jobs, jobs? republicans haven't passed a single bill to create jobs. they can't even figure out how to raise the debt ceiling, yet they are signing on for a bill that allows more guns everywhere, regardless of what the local law says. look, i get it, different laws make sense in different places. in louisiana, where i live now, lots and lots of people own guns. it's rarely a partisan issue in the sportsman's paradise, many kinds of people own guns for hunting and recreation, but take a place like the pittsburgh burro of homewood where officials say guns have been toxic and they need to be more controlled. again, i get it, but here's the problem. if the state's rights argument is your argument, it really starts to fall apart pretty quickly if you prioritize the power of the state over the well being of its people. take the defensive marriage act,
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or dona. the republican congress is all for giving states control on that. today the attorney general of new york joined a legal challenge of doma in the case of a widow with taxes that she wouldn't have owed if she had been married to a man instead of a woman. so in republican america, we still have no jobs bill, we still have no deal to save the u.s. government from default, but we can begin to see the outlines of a place where you can bring your concealed weapons across state lines but not your lawfully wedded spouse. what's up, smart?
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means. >> families have budgets, they live within their budgets. >> american families have to deal with this all the time. it's time that their government dealt with it as well. >> what is so wrong with giving american people the opportunity to speak, to say congress, you have been out of control. you need to balance your books like all of the american families in this country do. >> the hair on fire fight happening in washington right now is fundamentally a debate over whether or not to destroy the economy. and one of the republicans favorite ways of trying to distract you from the fact lots of them are on the yes, we should destroy the economy debate is make the debate you heard, conjure up this fake metaphor between individual households and policies of the federal government. >> families have budgets. >> they are spending within
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their means. >> now, you want to talk about a dysfunctional family, take a look at the united states congress. >> in your house, you know you got to pay your bills to make things better. you don't have debt ceilings, so the government should have to act just like your house, right? okay, incidentally, just today, we got a really clear picture of what american household budgets actually do look like, and it is not good. so okay, republicans, let's do it. let's take a look at what an american household kitchen table budget looks like and let's stop with the make believe. according to a new study out today by the pugh foundation, almost a third of hispanic households and a african-american households have debt. a third of households of color in this country are living with their own personal debt crisis.
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maybe we can think of it as a wealth floor, a floor they just fell through. so while john boehner he seems unaware that he has a country arresting on an american citizenry that's individualry and in their household, not just in terms of what's happening in their government, but in their households, the people are experiencing tremendous debt. we are relying on these people as wage earners and wealth creators, and we will continue to do so. within a few decades, we will be a majority minority country. right now, roughly a third of african-americans and latinos are facing personal debt crises, and those who have accumulated a little wealth are perilously close to losing the small amount they have. the immediate, right around the corner future of america is a colorful fun, and these people
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on the bottom of the chart are the ones that should be the future job creators, but right now they have no savings, no cushion to sustain them as they would try, for example, starting a business or hiring workers or implementing the new ideas that have always distinguished america. according to the pew study, the wealth gap, the assistance between white americans, latinos, and blacks is at a record high. the white family is worth 20 times its african-american counterpart. that's one dime in a black or latino household for $2 in a white household. now, let's be really clear. the wealth gap is different from the income gap. yes, jobs matter, there's no way families can pay their debt or begin to save if they don't have jobs, but this wealth gap is also fundamentally driven by public policy. people didn't end up in these circumstances just because they
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were making bad choices or being irresponsible fiscally. we end up with a wealth problem like this because of choices made by our own government. initially, many black people in america cannot own property because they were property. even after becoming citizens, many were shut out of the post-world war ii policies that created an american middle class. in the south, denied bipts under the gi bill. in the 1940s, 65% of black workers were concentrated in agricultural or domestic work and were, therefore, unable to take part in social security. and the discriminatory -- and here is a deal with wealth. it grows. it mushrooms, it explodes. and if you are shut out at the beginning, it is nearly impossible to catch up later on.
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take this example, if your parents didn't own a home because they couldn't get in because of the fha discriminatory behaviors, they couldn't help you pay for college. you did the right thing, but you're going to have to take out a student loan. and now you're starting adulthood with debt. get a job, if there are some, then make payments on the student loans, but you have no money left over for a down payment, so you rent. even when your income rises a bit, it's hard to generate and create wealth, but if your parents were able to buy into a house with those low-interest federal loans, if they did tap that equity to help you pay for college, then you start with no debt, and maybe your parents can help out with a small down payment on your first home and you start building wealth and the outcomes are so very different. whole communities cannot just earn their way out of a wealth gap. so let's look at that issue of housing just a bit more. listen, predatory lending began
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in black and latino communities a decade before the common practice in american mortgage industry. remember, we know a value of a house has less to do with how many bedrooms it has, what the square footage it is, or whether it has granite countertops, the main aspect of the house is, of course, location, location, location, and the number one locational problem for black folks and latinos is they live in neighborhoods defined as bad neighborhoods, and they are defined as bad simply because black and brown people live there. residential segregation may no longer be the law, but it is a reality in much of the country, so when this particular housing crisis hit, it double compounded what had already been true for african-americans and latinos for so long, causing foreclosures to shoot up and making it even harder to buy
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into the american dream. so, here now you have a system where these groups are being pushed farther to the margins and these are the people, as we've just seen over the course of the last decade, lose massively whatever small foothold they've been gaining, unemployment, wages go down, hardest by the decline in wealth, they've lost income, and now they are the ones that are going to have to pay into our national treasury, pay into our social security system. as people of color, our national coffers will rely on them even more. we cannot pay off the national debt if households cannot pay off their personal debt, and if they are in debt, you can't cut enough to fix our government's debt problems, and particularly not if you refuse that one group whose wealth is still tick, tick, ticking up. joining us now, dr. thomas
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shapiro, professor and director on assets on social policy. dr. shapiro, i am such a fan of your work, thank you so much for joining us this evening. >> it's my pleasure to be here, thank you. >> from what we're seeing right now, listen, those on the right and a few on the left love to make this comparison between households balancing their checkbooks and the government having to tighten its pursestrings. how dangerous is that metaphor? >> i think it's an extremely dangerous metaphor. i think there's no way around the fact the latest pew center report that the american population is in a crisis if we look at the wealth gap of nearly all households simply from the year 2005 to the year of 2009, it's been an absolute wealth loss for everybody, and that means we're talking about what the opportunities for the american dream in the future are for everybody. within that, however, the
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dynamics that have hit communities of color and low and moderate income communities, clearly the crisis is much more devastating. that's why this pew report, i think, is really -- i don't want to call it an alarm bell, all the alarms in the city, town, should be crying out about the severe crisis that we're in. >> dr. shapiro, one thing i like most about your work is you point us towards structural reasons for this. your work really talks about how public policy is at the root of so many of these disparities. if public policy helped to create these problems, what, if anything is washington doing to help the disparity now? >> that's a good question. i think if we get a really good handle on what's driven the increase in the racial wealth gap in the united states, then we start to have some tools and handles on public policy that we might be able to make a redress of that particular racial wealth
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gap. in my mind, at this point, with the pew center report, clearly the biggest driver of the increase in the last few years has been the absolute utter crash of the housing market and the foreclosure crisis, and i think there's a lot that washington has not done in terms of financial regulation that put some kind of control, some kind of transparency in the business that was going on, first in communities of color, and then spreading out through other segments of american society. i also think that washington could take a much harder look at what has been, in my estimation, a very anemic policy around foreclosures in the united states, a way we can help families in crisis, those families that look like they could make it through and make their payments or trying to make their home mortgage payments, i think there's a lot we can do for them. >> there's one other piece, the question of government and housing, that is the issue of taxes.
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look, in our current conversation, we keep talking about taxes as though they are just about income taxes, but talk to me a little bit about how our current tax structure actually widens this gap, makes this problem worse? >> i think when we look at institutional dynamics like public policy, in my mind, the largest driver in terms of tax policy are the tax benefits given to families to behave in certain ways, there's what i call a wealth budget in the united states tax code where individuals and families are rewarded by paying lower taxes for doing things that we think is good public policy for everybody. the largest of those, of course, is the home mortgage interest deduction. the second largest one happens to be the taxes that we don't pay if we put money aside for pensions when we need to retire. if we add up those -- those budgets in the united states, what the tax payers are paying for incentives so that some people don't pay taxes, it's
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about $400 billion a year. now, that $400 billion a year might mean one thing if it were distributed somewhat equitybly, but the story is different, the top 1% of tax payers receive 45% of the benefits of that wealth budget of the united states government. and if i can use the phrase "the bottom 60%" receives 3% of that. i think in terms of policy and in terms of structure, that that is the biggest place to start with and, unfortunately, politically, also the hardest place to start. >> well, might as well have the hard answers in the middle of this manufactured crisis, so, dr. shapiro, i greatly appreciate you taking the time to come and talk about this with us. cross professor of law and policy. >> my pleasure. attention wisconsin democrats, need a picture i.d. to vote?
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it almost sounds like a conspiracy, democratic president
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getting ready to run for reelection, republicans in states across the country has been introducing and passing laws that make it harder for groups of voters that traditionally help democrats win elections to vote. seven states so far this year have enacted new laws that require voters to show photo i.d.s at the polls. ohio is also among the states that have introduced restrictions on voting registration drives, you know, like voting registration at the supermarket, and do you like early voting? at least five states, including florida and ohio, have enacted bills to reduce early voting periods. four more states have bills just like them in the works. in all, republicans in about half the states are trying to make it harder to vote or to register to vote. doesn't this sound like a conspiracy theory? kind of a mustache-twisting, if there were conspiracy, isn't this exactly what one would look
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like? to make the appearance of conspiracy even sharper, one state seems to make it harder for voters to meet the new, stricter requirements. it's happening in wisconsin, where earlier this year, governor scott walker signed that state's photo i.d. be into law. if stage one was weakening the unions by limiting collective bargaining rights, stage two was democratic voters. what's stage three? apparently stage three is closing dmv offices, places you go to get photo i.d.s. the associated press reports the walker administration is finalizing a plan to close as many as ten dmv offices, and one democratic lawmaker says the offices targeted for closure are in democratic areas and hours will be expanded in republican parts of the state. the walker administration denies the charges, saying that more people in all counties will be served when the final plan is
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put into effect, but what about the poor? you know, the people who work two shifts in order to make ends meet, folks who can't afford a car let alone the time to stand in line between the hours of 9:00 and 5:00, or the disabled, how and where are they going to meet the requirements? or young voters who haven't gotten their first driver's license yet. those most likely to vote democratic are also those most likely to be hurt by the new set of voting rules americans will face when they go to the polls next year. that's assuming, of course, that they make it there at all. joining us now is mordecai lee, professor lee is also a former member of the wisconsin state assembly and the wisconsin state senate. from a new orleans saint to a wisconsin packer, let me just say that thank goodness the nfl is better at reaching compromise than the u.s. congress, but on to this more serious issue.
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it's really nice to have you here tonight. >> thank you. >> how do you think that this plan to shut down several dmvs will affect the elderly woman who needs to get a voter i.d., or the young man who lives in a rural part of the state. what does it look like on the ground for them? >> well, we in wisconsin used to think that we were the good government state, the clean government state. but it turns out that partisan politics here is like what's happening everywhere else in the country. it's a contact sport. and if the majority party can change the rules of the game to benefit the majority party, they do it. i think that's exactly what's happening with the voter i.d. law. how does somebody who doesn't have a driver's license go to the dmv to get a free i.d. card that has no photo on it? the logic of it, it seems to me, is pretty compelling. >> speaking of logic, the brennan center for justice found that only 44 one millionth of 1%
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are cast by voter fraud. so when they say these are going to be shutting down voter fraud by shutting down the dmvs, does shutting down the dmvs give the republicans a better way of disenfranchising voters? because all of us hate the dmv. is that what's happening here? >> i think this was a pretty smooth move. what the legislature said and did, there had to be one dmv office open 20 hours a week in every can county. that does sound like good government and they gave dmv another couple million dollars for the free i.d. cards. the problem is when you do it on a county-by-county basis, that means that you're tended to tilt toward rural counties, low-population counties. so the example you mentioned in your introduction is about jefferson county, which is halfway between milwaukee and madison. right now there are two dmv
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offices, and based on the statutory request of just one in every county, they'll probably close one of them. that makes it harder for people to get to the dmv to get the card in the first place. >> look, i like what you said about wisconsin being the place where government works, because it's been fascinating to watch the people of wisconsin pushing back against so much of what has happened since the 2010 midterms. in fact, when we gave wisconsinites the opportunity to vote, we saw wisconsinites re-electing democrat dave hanson by a landslide. look, do to democrats even stand a chance in wisconsin unless they make these kind of draconian voter i.d. laws? >> well, it seems to me the whole concept of public service, of serving the public, has moved really to the right, as part of the national conversation. after all, if five years ago or ten years ago we had been talking about dmv offices being
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open only 20 hours a week or state parks or airports or something like that, i as a professor of public administration, i think we've lost the concept of serving the public. that every public office ought to be open 40 hours a week and there ought to be adequate funding for it. so the recall that you're mentioning that are coming up two tuesdays from now and three tuesdays from now, that's really a referendum if people like what's going on or don't like what's going on. the conventional wisdom right now is that the tide of public opinion is going for democrats. but you have to say that republican incumbents have an advantage in every election, just like all other incumbents. >> well, so, this show has talked a lot about exactly that question of the public good. what makes sense for the public? and i guess i'm interested here, since when did we think that making it harder to vote was a democratic, with a little "d," value? under what circumstances do we
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think that disenfranchisement, or at least making it much harder to meet the rules of having the ability to vote is a good way to move forward with a democracy? >> well, i think this really links to your previous segment, when we were talking about the civil rights era. after all, giving african-americans the right to vote was considered a good thing, a nonpartisan thing. but really ever since then, every argument about enfranchisement or disenfranchisement has really been about partisan advantage. and i don't necessarily think that the democrats have just purely clean hands. every party wants to gain an advantage. democrats want lower income and younger people to be able to vote. and that's sort of what the fighting wisconsin is all about. >> professor lee, thank you so much for your time this evening. that was mordecai lee. coming up, the best new thing in the world today. if you have a dog, you should go get him or her and bring her to the tv. this is a moment to share.
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today's best new thing in the world is completely, fundamentally counterintuitive. dogs, we are brought up to understand, hate mailmen, and mailmen feel the same way right back. it's so bad that an online magazine for postal workers has a page with the headline, "when dogs attack," that has a lot of necessary, but quite scary information about dog bites. now, my dog, pebbles, won't bite, but she's been known to bark at a postal worker or two. and the best new thing in the world today is that a dog, not a breed of dog or a hollywood dog like lassie, but a specific real-life dog is now being honored by essentially mailmen,
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with his own postage stamp. we learned today that this stamp, with honoring owny the postal dog will be released tomorrow. a forever stamp, no less. owny wandered into the albany, new york, post office, one day in 1888 and just made himself right at home. o owney soon began to follow mail bags, across the state and then across the country. and it was a good thing, because in that time of all those trains, there were a lot of train crashes, but no train that ever had owney on board every crashed. so see those metals and tags draped all over him. as the unofficial mascot for the railway mail service, owney traveled so far and wide, all over the world, he would collect one of those tags for every place he went. so the best new thing is the way that